Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2002 Dec;26(8):941-62.

Biological mechanisms in the relationship between depression and heart disease.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242-1407, USA.


Psychological depression is shown to be associated with several aspects of coronary artery disease (CAD), including arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, heart failure and sudden death. The physiological mechanisms accounting for this association are unclear. Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysregulation, diminished heart rate variability, altered blood platelet function and noncompliance with medial treatments have been proposed as mechanisms underlying depression and cardiovascular disease. Recent evidence also suggests that reduced baroreflex sensitivity, impaired immune function, chronic fatigue and the co-morbidity of depression and anxiety may be involved in the relationship between depression and cardiovascular dysregulation. An experimental strategy using animal models for investigating underlying physiological abnormalities in depression is presented. A key to understanding the bidirectional association between depression and heart disease is to determine whether there are common changes in brain systems that are associated with these conditions. Such approaches may hold promise for advancing our understanding of the interaction between this mood disorder and CAD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk